ANC Gauteng: Zuma must do the right thing (resign)

Hope Papo. Picture: Deon Raath
Hope Papo. Picture: Deon Raath
The ANC in Gauteng wants President Jacob Zuma to reflect deeply and “do the right thing” to resolve the unprecedented crisis facing the governing party in light of a damning Constitutional Court judgment that he violated the Constitution in his handling of Nkandla.

The province held its extended provincial executive committee meeting yesterday, during which Zuma’s apology was accepted but a decision was taken that he must resign.

This was said in a summarised statement that took hours to prepare as leaders battled to agree on the exact wording.

In the final statement, issued this afternoon, ANC provincial secretary Hope Papo said the ANC had already paid a price during the 2014 elections due to, among others, the anger of the electorate over the multimillion-rand security upgrades to Zuma’s Nkandla home in KwaZulu-Natal.

“As the ANC we have to do deeper introspection and take far-reaching decisions that will repair the damage to our image and [so the party will] continue to enjoy the confidence and trust of our people,” he said.

“The provincial executive committee reiterated that the ANC had earned its leadership of society through the struggles and sacrifices of its members and supporters over generations. It is in that context that our president Comrade Jacob Zuma should reflect deeply and do the right thing to resolve the unprecedented crisis that the ANC currently faces. The ANC has never taken the support of our people for granted and was founded to defend and advance the rights of our people.”

Papo said that the provincial leadership believed that Zuma’s apology was “just the beginning of dealing with the political damage and mistrust caused by the mismanagement of the Nkandla matter”.

There has been mounting pressure for Zuma to step down from the public and the opposition. ANC veterans – including Ahmed Kathrada and church leaders – have also spoken out against Zuma, calling for his removal.

Some ANC branches in Johannesburg echoed the sentiments that Zuma had become a huge liability and must make way for a successor.

Papo said the ANC was “recognised as a central mobiliser, organiser and inspirer of a vast popular mass of progressive organisations and their views are important to us”.

In his apology, Zuma blamed wrong legal advice for his actions and apologised to the public. This was said to be among the things that irked the Gauteng ANC.

The provincial leaders would consult with regional executive committees and branches.

“During these consultation meetings, we will report about the decision of the national working committee and seek the views of our members and a broad cross section of sectors of our society,” said Papo.

“The outcome of this consultation process will be discussed with the ANC national leadership.”

Last week, the ANC’s extended national working committee accepted Zuma’s apology and its members of Parliament quashed a motion of no confidence brought by the opposition against Zuma.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe had warned that removing Zuma would amount to splitting the party.

This would not be the first time the ANC in Gauteng had defied the ANC. The province had spoken out strongly about Nkandla and against e-tolls despite the national leadership supporting its implementation.

Gauteng lost a number of votes in the 2014 elections, partly owing to these thorny issues.
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